“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” - Isaiah 7:14 NKJV
My focus this Christmas is simple: Behold Him.
Behold the One who created heaven and earth. The One who divided time 2k+ years ago. The One who fulfilled over 300 prophecies. The One Who is fully God, yet became fully man and entered the world as an infant. Emmanuel. The God Almighty Who is with us.
To behold something is to fix attention upon that thing.
English poet William Blake observes that “What you behold, you become.”
Science has proven by neuroplasticity that our brain is constantly being formed and shaped.
It’s not a matter of IF our brain is being formed or shaped, but of WHAT is it being shaped into.
What we are beholding is the answer to that question. For some of us the answer may be career aspirations, a spouse, or financial prosperity. When we behold these items too highly, we discover that it begins to change everything about us. We make great sacrifices for these things, fixate on them, and may find ourselves lying awake at night dwelling on them.
I propose that, while all of those items I just mentioned can be great and important things, they were never intended to bear the weight as something worthy to Behold. God alone is the only One worthy of our worship. Psalm 96:4 reminds us “For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.”
I’m continuously amazed at how strangely dim the challenges, trials, and pressures of this earthly life become during the times I am truly in awe of Who God is: I reflect on the reality that He alone is sovereign and in full control of all of creation. I am aware that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without Him knowing. I recognize that God Almighty is mindful of me.
Corrie Ten Boom summarized it like this, “If you look at the world, you will be distressed. If you look within, you will be depressed. If you look at God, you will be at rest.”
Not only do I find rest, I also find transformation; “What you behold, you become.”
To illustrate this point, I’d like to share something Pastor Aaron Etheridge of Ethos Church in Nashville, TN recently shared in a sermon. As a guitar player, growing up, he became obsessed with a few rock guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix. He found himself constantly listening to their music, and watching videos about them. Before long he noticed that he was starting to not only strum his guitar like them, but began to dress like them, grow his hair like them, and model his behavior on them.
He adds that his transformation into something similar to these rock stars he so admired was born not of an obligation to be like them, but instead out of his fascination with them.
Our transformation into image-bearers of God is born not of obligation, but out of the fascination with God.
Let us grow in our fascination with God this Christmas season. Meditate on the historical reality that 2k+ years ago God came to earth as a baby. Revisit the many prophecies that were fulfilled simply through His birth. Grow in awe of how grand God truly is. Reflect upon the beauty of His attributes and promises. As we do this, we will be amazed how it begins to change our peace, our ability to love others, and everything about us.
I’ve included “Behold Him”, by Paul Baloche below as a reflection opportunity. I’d encourage you to take a moment to focus your mind’s eye on our Father, and the gift of his one and only Son, sent to earth to purchase our salvation on a cross.
John 1:29 - “...“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”